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teal the pentagon is bracing for $500 billion but that is over the next decade and raises questions how military leaders plan to keep the nation safe. >> last friday when president obama rolled out his new plan for steering us away from the fiscal cliff there was word he did not say, that word was, sequester, the sequester would automatically cut more than a hundred billion from the budget next year, half from domestic programs and half from defense programs. as the deadline draws close, experts are looking at national security standpoint and warning one final time about the impact on the safety of our service members. >> it's going to affect the operational force that is deployed in terms of its ability to maintain equipment, to get repair parts. that force is delayed around the world, not just the force in afghanistan that is being reduced. it would impact on the training of the force and preparedness. >> reporter: white house officials say it's unclear what is going to happen. on friday john mccain said he doesn't see how a deal gets done without addressing the cuts. >> a lot of defe
part of some last-second deal. hit the defense department. but the pentagon's real problem is not those cuts, but the ones that are going to be coming over the next decade. we talked to military contractors, top officials at the pentagon. they see a long period of downward decline. that after the war in afghanistan, there's going to be a period of austerity. they're calling it -- they have a term around the pentagon, a very graphic self-amputation as they cut back over the years. and this was one of the reasons that president obama had, at the top of his short list, the former republican senator, still a republican, chuck hagel of nebraska. he's somebody who's talked about the pentagon as being bloated, had very specific ideas about how to cut it. but mike, sam, the table, we're hearing that that trial balloon has been popped. that senator hagel has a possibility for secretary of defense, has really lost a lot of altitude. and what they discovered was, there's not a natural constituency for him. republicans, as you guys know, have fought with him over the years. he was against the war i
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